Doors open on revamp at St Bride Library

Fleet Street’s famous printing and graphics archive, the St Bride Library in London, finally reopened this week following the completion of its £100 000 refurbishment. A new reading room has been created, as well as a permanent display on the history of the library.

Both have been designed by architect Robson Warren. Partner at the practice Peter Warren describes the 6m x 8m reading room as ‘a tiny project com pared with the works the library wants done’. He confirms that ‘specialist design consultancies [will be brought] on board to conceive interiors and exhibitions’, if the next phase of work for the St Bride Library goes ahead. Earlier this year, St Bride’s hopes of a full renovation were dashed when both the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund rejected its request for funding of £7m. St Bride now intends to wait until after the Olympic Games in 2012 to apply for the bulk of its public funding.

‘We want to redesign to create a light, airy and attractive space,’ says a spokeswoman for St Bride. ‘This refurbishment is the first step to ensure the future of this remarkable and unique national library.’ There are plans to build an on-site museum exploring the history of printing and of Fleet Street, as well as an education area. ‘We have the planning permission and intend to pursue a full-scale redevelopment in the next five to eight years,’ the spokeswoman adds.

Latest articles

What to look out for at Design Indaba 2019

Ann Crabtree, Alice Rawsthorn, David Droga and John Pawson are among the international speakers at this year’s Design Indaba festival, which takes place next month in South Africa.